Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holidays!



Happy Holidays to everyone! The Best of Health, Wealth and Happiness for the New Year!

Thank you for all the support, love and laughs this year. I can't wait to see what great surprises are coming next year! ~Jen

Friday, December 11, 2009

Downtown Holiday Market



Join me and many other vendors of fine craft, food, imported goodies, music and merriment!

I'll be there through Tuesday, December 15th. Noon-8pm, Accessible to metro. Great fun, people and gifts. What more to say?!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

December Artist of the Month~ Reinvented Elegance



Welcome to Winter! The air is getting much colder and holiday songs are all around.

Trying to find something different, eco friendly, beautiful and well made? Look no further than Reinvented Elegance, mosaic, pressed flower art and wire wrapped jewelry by Joyce Wagner.

I have had the pleasure of knowing Joyce for many years and she has been a constant inspiration of creativity and kindness. Her thoughtful nature shows through her artwork, with simple and yet intricate designs. As many things she makes are developed using natural materials, they are automatically one of kinds.

You might have seen some of her work on the $20 and Under Gift Guide. Read on to find out about this talented artist and mother of 5!

Q~ How did you get started?

A~ I’ve loved to make things since I was little. In fact, grouting mosaics reminds me of making mud pies many years ago in my side yard. To the complete horror of a few girly girls in my neighborhood, I then proceeded to decorate them with Dogwood berries and sun-bake them on my aluminum slide.

Q~ Why do you continue?

A~ Because I can’t stop myself! Seriously, because making stuff makes me happy, and I truly appreciate the opportunity of having my own business and the flexibility of working at home.



Q~ What is a great (or greatest) success story?

A~ So far, when something I create makes someone happy … and (better yet) when that person actually wants to buy it! Most of all, I want to make my family proud of me and to be a good role model for my kids.

Q~ What is one of your greatest failures?

A~ Not being able to add hours to my day!

Q~ Where do you get your inspiration?

A~ Literally everywhere. And I always joke that I get my best ideas in the shower.

Q~ Why do you make/create what you do?

A~ I love the opportunity to create with mosaics, pressed flowers, and wire jewelry; each is challenging and great fun and I never get bored.

In making mosaics, I get tremendous satisfaction from finding discarded or thrift store materials and trying to breathe new life into them, and I love the idea that an odd assemblage of materials can somehow be greater than its individual parts (or we would hope so, anyway!).



In creating with pressed flowers and leaves, I never cease to marvel at Nature’s beauty and what a wonderful gift it is to each of us.



And in making jewelry, I love to throw odd materials and colors together with pressed flowers and twists of wire and see what happens!

Q~ Where is your favorite place to sell? Or Favorite show?

A~ Wow, it’s hard to pick just one. But I can definitely say that one of my favorite markets is right around the corner: The Del Ray Artisans Fine Art and Craft Holiday Market 2009.

It’s a happy, friendly, artful, and cozy indoor show that opens on Friday night, December 4th, from 7 to 10 p.m. with a catered reception. This market continues on Saturday, December 5th, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, December 6th, from noon to 4 p.m. and also features a terrific bake sale benefiting a local charity, Food for Others. Admission is free.

Q~ What is one thing you love about your business?

A~ The many, many fantastic opportunities it provides: to work at home where my family is (thanks, Derrick!); to love my job; to learn, grow in, and practice my art continuously; and the sheer pleasure of making new things every day.

Q~ What is one thing you loathe?

A~ The huge and sometimes opposing pulls, especially around holiday sale times, of trying to be a good wife/mother and a good artist/business owner. Also, the fits of nerves I have before markets … I confess I still get really bad stage fright.

Q~ What is your dream about your art?

A~ That someday I might have an agent (and perhaps a maid, too, but that’s another story – ha!).



Q~ What is your mission?

A~ To make things that will make people smile and bring them joy.

Q~ Where are you based?

A~ In beautiful Alexandria, VA, in the community of Rosemont.

Q~ Where would you live if you could live anywhere?

A~ Hmmmm, I’m happy where I am, but might have to do some more traveling (purely to research this, of course!) to provide a well-thought-out answer.



Q~ What would you be doing if not this?

A~ Writing children’s stories.

Q~What is next?

A~ I want to keep working, learning, and thinking up new creations.

Q~ What is your favorite question to ask people?

A~ “How are you?”

Q~What is your answer to that question?

A~ Usually, “Great!”



Reinvented Elegance can be found at these shows for your holiday shopping:

Friday, December 4

DRA Fine Art & Craft Holiday Market, Alexandria, VA, 7pm to 10 pm.

Saturday, December 5
DRA Fine Art & Craft Holiday Market, Alexandria, VA, 10 am to 6 pm

Santa’s Gift Show Ellicott City, MD, 10 am to 4 pm

Sunday, December 6
DRA Fine Art & Craft Holiday Market, Alexandria, VA noon to 4pm

Saturday, December 12 and Sunday December 13
National Harbor Holiday Market, Oxen Hill, MD, noon to 6 pm

Saturday, December 19 and Sunday December 20

National Harbor Holiday Market, Oxen Hill, MD, noon to 6 pm

A variety of Joyce's goods can also be bought at A Show of Hands in Del Ray, 2301 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA, 22301 703-683-2905, www.ashowofhands.biz.


In addition to Joyce, there will be many other great artists at the Del Ray Artistans Holiday Market this weekend. Ceramics, glass, wood and all artistic media will be available for all on your list. Treat yourself to a goodie from the bake sale and pick up a wreath for the door. We have it all!

See you this weekend~Jen

Green Tip~ Gift Wrap Smarter~


I know a lot of people love to tear open their gifts and toss the paper around. And, you don't have to be two years old to do it. However, then, the paper is thrown out and creates a lot of waste. So, start out smart and create less waste in the first place!

This year, I'll be offering re-usable fabric gift bags. Available in Christmas and non-holiday fabric and various sizes, they are great for little items like jewelry and gift cards. $3 each or 3 for $8, these are a wonderful add on for the tree hugger!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

$20 and Under Gift Guide

Times are tough and the holidays are coming. Friends, family and co-workers all need to be bought for. What's an art lover to do? Browse the following gift guide to find great hand made items for a variety of folks. Designed with skill and handmade with pride, these gifts are all sure to strike the right cord with the right recipient.

ACCESSORIES


Fingerless gloves, $15 by Jen-A-Fusion Fashion Accessories



Fun polar fleecey fingerless gloves keep you warm while you text, drive, walk the dog or go to the farmers market. Available in a range of colors and designs.

To see more, go to jenafusion.etsy.com or visit Jen at any of her many December market days. Check at the schedule at left.


On The Go pouches, $15 by oblinaknit


Toss one in your tote and go - fill them with makeup, id, or even knitting notions ....the list is endless!

Find this and more at www.oblinaknit.etsy.com


Wire-wrapped Key Chains, $12 by Reinvented Elegance


Each key chain features a wide variety of wire-wrapped novelty beads, from dogs to chickens to mushrooms!

Joyce Wagner, of Reinvented Elegance, will be the featured December Artist of the Month, so there will be much more on her next week. For this week, you can find her at Santa’s Craft Show in Ellicott City, MD, November 28 and 29, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


ART



Holiday Portrait, $5 from Joanna Barnum Portraits & Illustration



On special until December 15, you get a 4" x 6" quick portrait sketch from your photo in graphite, ink, and marker on paper.

For more details about this special for ordering information:
joannabarnum.livejournal.com/49168.html
There is also information in the post about larger portrait options.
Visit www.joannabarnum.com or jbarnum.etsy.com to see a portfolio of other work available.


COLLAGE/DECOUPAGE

"FUKITOL" Box, $16 by BoxBoy Demented Decoupage



Wooden 3.5 x 2.25 x 2.25" Trinket Box ... BoxBoy's all-time best seller!

BoxBoy will be at Eastern Market on Sundays, Nov. 29, Dec. 6, 13, 20 and the Downtown Holiday Market, Dec. 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19. More boxes can be seen at www.boxboyboxes.com or emailed to boxboypab@aol.com.



Robots Decoupage Piggy Bank, $20, by This Little Piggy



Hand-decoupaged robot-themed ceramic piggy bank

Jessica sells little piggies online at www.ThisLittlePiggyMarket.net & www.thispiggy.etsy.com and at A Show of Hands in Alexandria (Del Ray) & PetMac in Arlington (Virginia Square). She will also be around town doing the craft show circuit!



Pressed Flower Greeting Cards with Coordinating Envelopes, $4 each or 3/$10 by Reinvented Elegance



Happily designed with local flowers and leaves; no two are alike!



JEWELRY


Unique polymer clay pendants, Prices range $10-20, by Jennifer Judd Designs at Jen Judd Rocks!


These are handmade polymer clay pendants with one-of-a-kind patterns that'll work with just about any choker or chain you already have.

You can see more work at www.jenjuddrocks.com and you can shop for these pendants at www.jenjuddrocks.etsy.com.


From The September Artist of the Month~Red Tape Earrings, $17.95 by Jenny's Pretty Things


These earrings are handmade with a piece of the original red twill tape once used to bind U.S. Government documents.

They are available online on the National Archives eStore.


Crocheted Earrings, $15 by Reinvented Elegance



Whimsical, lightweight, and a treat to wear; no two pairs are exactly alike … and, yes, they really are crocheted!


Black and Gold Felt Cut-Out Bracelet, $18 by ShesSoCrafty Art & Design, the August Artist of the Month


Hand cut black felt cutouts, hand sewn and blanket stitched with metallic gold threads.

Find this and much much more at www.sunflowerexpress.etsy.com.


MOSAIC


Jumbo Pressed Flower Magnets, $6 by Reinvented Elegance



Bring the beauty of nature indoors to bloom on any magnetized surface; outstanding stocking stuffers!



Potomac River Orbs, $10 by Reinvented Elegance



Created featuring recycled river glass and shells happily collected from the shores of the Potomac River; equally great as desk accessories or unique holiday ornaments.


PHOTOGRAPHY

Various Photos, including cards $4-15, by Love to Create



Greeting Cards - $4.00 each, 3 for $10.00 or 5 for $15.00
5x7 matted prints - 1 for $6, 3 for $15.00
8x10 matted prints - 1 for $10.00

Love to Create will be selling at the Del Ray Artisans Holiday Market, 2704 Mt. Vernon Ave, Alexandria, VA Friday, December 4, 7-10pm, Saturday, December 5, 10-7pm, Sunday, December 6, 12-4pm. For more images, check out www.lovetocreate.net.


Thanks for taking a peak and supporting small business people and talented artist. Hope to see you at a show or two in the next month!~Jen

Friday, November 20, 2009

Mt. Vernon Unitarian Church Holiday Shop



Come for the whole day, for the whole family at the Mt. Vernon Unitarian Church Holiday Shop. For the 48th year, this happening encompasses baked goods, handmade crafts from well know regional artists, hot lunch to buy, fair trade items, a quilt raffle and more.

A beautiful drive down the George Washington Parkway and a cute little setting create a great day out!

What: Mt Vernon Unitarian Church Holiday Shop

When: Saturday, November 21 9:30-am-4pm

Where: 1909 Windmill Lane, Alexandria, VA

Website: www.mvuc.org


While driving there today to set up, yellow leaves sprinkled through the air and caught the light. They looked like glitter in the air. So beautiful! What a perfect idea to do some holiday shopping and go for a drive down to Mt. Vernon....~Jen

Friday, November 13, 2009

Trash to Treasure: A Green Craft Fair



I love when people have grand ideas, all encompassing and inspirational. Take a great theory and run with it. Add to it and round it out. And, go public with it.

This is my excitement for Trash to Treasure: A Green Craft Fair. A simple idea: have a market of artists and craftspeople who use recycled materials. Build it bigger: ask that visitors think of others and offer a clothing drop off for charity. Make it smarter: have a book exchange table to pass knowledge on. Create some fun: Throw this party at a nature center, where folks can also learn about animals and plants and how to live a life that doesn't harm them.

The Low Down~

What: Trash To Treasure: A Green Craft Fair

Where: Walkins Nature Center, 301 Watkins Park Drive, Upper Marlboro 20774

When: Saturday, November 14, 10am-4pm

Website: www.pgparks.com


This looks to be a wonderful, nature and earth filled day. Join in by bringing clothing to donate and books to trade in!

See you there~Jen

Sunday, November 8, 2009

November Artist of the Month~ Clare Von Herbulis~ Creating Visual Poetry



I am proud and excited to introduce you to a *new* artist that is taking her artistry to the world!

Clare Van Herbulis is one of those people that don't make fast, crazy decisions. She makes ones that seem safe, smart and strong. Now, she's made a choice from the heart and head. To start and focus on a photography business. To create a life of her own vision, of her own momentum.

Clare Von Herbulis Photography - Creating Visual Poetry

Q~How did you get started?

A~ I've always been very visual and into various creative arts, but my interest in photography sparked in 1997 when I lived in Vero Beach, FL. I took a few photography classes at the local art center and my teacher, professional photographer Theresa Motley, soon became my close mentor and friend. She very strongly encouraged me to go to a state photography school and to pursue it as degree and eventually as a career. Even though she recognized my talent and passion at that time, I wasn't so sure and decided to pursue a degree in Interior Design.

Twelve years later and apparently numerous mentions to my boyfriend, P.K., about how much I wanted to get back into photography, he gave me a brand new Nikon camera and equipment for my birthday. I was thrilled to get my hands back on the camera and to let the creativity fly! I took a few local classes and began snapping photos just about everywhere I could. Others began to comment and request photos and the rest is history. It became so clear to me that photography is my passion so I decided in September to leave my former job and start my own photography business. I could not be happier with the challenges, creativity and opportunities that this new venture provides me every day!

Q~Why do you continue?

A~ I've only just begun!



Q~What is a great(or greatest) success story?

A~ For me, my greatest success is getting to the point in my life that I realized that photography is not only my passion, but that I am capable and courageous enough to make the jump from the safe and secure corporate job to creating my own business. Knowing that success is the only option and that it's up to me to be unstoppable in order to make this dream my reality. It was a huge decision for me to make and I have to say that I'm really quite proud of myself for taking that risk, getting myself to this point and for being ready for all that is to come in my photography future!

Q~What is one of your greatest failures?

A~ My greatest failure is probably not always recognizing or appreciating my own photographic talent and ability. I guess we're all our own worst critics and I can be quite hard on myself and critical of my own work. However, I think that it does continue to keep me striving to learn more and to become even better at my craft.



Q~Where do you get your inspiration?

A~ My inspiration comes from everywhere! I am often just driving down the road and I'll see something that sparks an idea. It may be a scene, a landmark, or even a place that may just be a great portrait background. Once I have an idea in my mind and the creative images begin, I literally have to capture it on the camera or the idea doesn't go away!

For portraits, it's always the person themselves that inspires me. It's my goal to not only capture someone's personality, but to capture the individual's soul - the person who resides behind the eyes. Seeing that in a photo and seeing or hearing another person's emotional reaction to a photo is my greatest inspiration and pleasure in my work.

Q~Why do you make/create what you do?

A~ There is something about capturing a moment, a feeling, an expression or an emotion in time and knowing that it will be around forever to tell a particular story. Photos are often so treasured by people it seems for this reason - photos recall memories and treasured moments in one's life and it brings me amazing joy to be able to capture those moments for people.



Q~Where is your favorite place to sell? Or Favorite show?

A~ I don't really have one, but I am really looking forward to "Foto Week DC" this upcoming week. It's my first time attending the event and am excited to see amazing photos from many of the worlds best photographers!

Q~What is one thing you love about your business?

A~ I love evoking emotion from viewers when they see my photographs. To see and hear people's responses as they view my photos, especially ones taken of a loved one - a child, a parent, themselves, etc, - is the absolute best! I also love that the business allows me to make a living by doing what I love each and every day - the ultimate dream!

Q~What is one thing you loathe?

A~ In regard to the business...individuals who decide to take it upon themselves to upload/download or in other words steal another person's artistic work. No matter what realm of art, it is just unacceptable to me disrespect and to lack appreciation for one's artistic work, ability, time and creativity by taking it as your own.

In regard to non-business related...negativity and pessimistic views. I truly believe that there is something good in every one of life's experiences, you may just have to dig deep enough and open wide enough to realize it.

Q~What is your dream about your art?

A~ My photographic dream is to just continue to capture life's moments in photo that people continue to enjoy! The business and making a living from my passion is just icing on the cake for me!

Q~What is your mission?

A~ My mission is to "create visual poetry" and to bring joy and happiness to others along the way.

Q~Where are you based?

A~ I am based out of Alexandria, VA.



Q~Where would you live if you could live anywhere?

A~ That's a tough one..if remaining in the states, I think I'd love to live in San Diego. I think I'm a California girl at heart. I'd also love to live somewhere overseas, perhaps Spain.

Q~What would you be doing if not this?

A~ I'd probably be taking applications for a sugar daddy. haha.. No really, I'd probably still be in the furniture/interior design industry.

Q~What is next?

A~ I know a lot is next - that's for sure! I will be busy in the coming months with scheduled photo sessions and preparing photos/orders for the holidays. Portraits (including prints, custom photo books and custom calendars) have proven to be popular gift ideas!

I will also be quite busy with continuing to get the word out that I've started this new venture as well continuing to expand my knowledge and keep on top of what's new in the industry. There is always something to be revising, editing, learning or experiencing with my new business!

Q~What is your favorite question to ask people?

A~ What's your story? I love people's reactions to that question.

Q~What is your answer to that question?

A~ It's still being written.

For more images and information about Clare Von Herbulis Photography - Creating Visual Poetry, please visit www.flickr.com/photos/creatingvisualpoetry

You can also email Clare at ccvon1@aol.com or call 703-629-1175 to set up an appointment for holiday family photos.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pumpkin Fest and the Irvine Nature Center



I LOVE people who can take lemons and make lemonade! And the people who work and volunteer at the Irvine Nature Center in Ownings Mills, MD, are just those kind of people.

Last weekend was the Pumpkin Fest at the center, an event with fun crafts for the kids, educational hands on displays about animals, pony rides and pumpkins galore. This particular weekend also included pouring rain and a surprise snow shower!

However, the center's devoted little elves pulled off the weekend. They moved outdoor activities inside, shoveled snow and kept on going. I loved the stable, secure party tent the crafts were set up in, and the heater we had. It rained outside, but we were mostly dry and mostly warm!



Saturday, it rained pretty much all day. Furry Friends came out to say hi despite the bad weather.



Sunday started with a shock when I got to the center. There was snow on the ground. Not a little bit of snow, either, but a pile here, a pile there...

This was the entrance to the main arts and crafts tent for the kids. They left the snow there, and re-routed folks through our tent instead.




Very sadly, the food vendors had left their tents up overnight and came back to find a tangled mess. Wind, snow and thin metal bits don't mix.



The tents were so mangled that they couldn't take away the carcasses of the tent frames. They had to leave them right in the parking lot. I asked one of the organizers if I could take the tent tops, which were ripped, to recycle into shopping tote shops. She agreed and I carted them away. The center took the rest of the tents, to be able to strip salvageable parts for their own use.

Inside, snow have collected on some of the tent roof and they had been working to get it off.




They were scrambling to get everything water tight, ready for the kids to come and have fun. They had moved the pumpkin patch inside.



This was right next to a very Martha Stewart-like display of all different ways you could use pumpkins to decorate. From using small baby pumpkins as candelabra decor to pumpkin topiary, the ideas were fresh and inventive. I liked the pumpkin as flower holder.



There was a build your own scarecrow area. Lots of the fun combos to be had. I'm not sure who liked this best, the kids or the adults.




At the end of the day, I stopped by the nature center's store. This was a great place! Unlike a lot of nature stores I've been to, this was stocked with fun and fresh products for your garden, your life and even your bathroom. Organic body lotions and soaps, beautiful jewelry. Coloring books and bug identification cards for kids. I got a few Christmas gifts for the gardeners on my list, a truly unique item I'm sure they won't have, but will love. I can't say what it is, I don't want to spoil the surprise.



The grounds around the center looked great, even without bright sunshine. I could see a tepee from where I was. Looked fun to explore...



By the end of the weekend, the clouds finally broke away and that elusive heat ball, the sun, made an appearance. The sky was clear and the changing leaves were glorious.



It made me realize that I had not been able to really get a chance to explore the trails and the center. I'm looking forward to a time very soon from now when I can get back to check it all out.

Irvine Nature Center is open seven days a week, 9am-5pm. According to the Fall program, 'the trails, gardens, exhibits and nature store are open to the public free of charge.' However, they have a full program of events, some free and some with a small fee. Check out their website at www.explorenature.org.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Pumpkin Fest



It is that time of year again! Cooler weather, (alright, *cold* weather), yummy apples and cider, pumpkin picking and Halloween! I love the fall- the smells, the warm fuzzy clothing, the festivals!

Come join us for a Pumpkin Fest like no other!

From the Eco Puppets to the Zero waste education stations, to the earth friendly crafts, this event is for kids, little and big, but nature lovers all the same!

What: Pumpkin Fest

Where: Irvine Nature Center, 11201 Garrison Forest Road, Owings Mills, MD 21117

Where II: Artist Alley Tent

When: Saturday, October 17, 11am-4pm

Sunday, October 18, noon-4pm

Website: www.explorenature.org


Hope you can make and bring home a little nature to brighten up your fall season! Also, never too early to start thinking about holiday gifts~Jen

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Duh! I forgot!


I forgot to tell you more about where and when to find the October Artist of the Month, MICHELE BANKS. If you clicked on the title of my last post, you would have gone to her website. However, that wasn't clear at all. Sorry, folks, way too much work and not enough, chocolate?..

Michele's 411:

Next market: Bethesda Artist Market, www.Bethesda.org

Website: www.artmonger.net

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While Michele is in Bethesda, I'll be in Ballston.

Details:

Ballston Arts + Crafts Market, Arlington, VA
Saturday, October 10, 10am-4pm
Welburn Square, Stuart Street, Ballston
www.ballstonarts-craftsmarket.blogspot.com

This is the last market of this series this season, so come by, if you haven't yet. I'm looking forward to it and remain optimistic about NO rain!

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Other very chill goings on this weekend, The Shakespeare Theatre is having a Costume Shop Sale this coming Sunday, just in time for Halloween. I was there this evening to drop off an order of little bags and bought a great doublet jacket for an absolute steal!

You should definately check it out. You might even buy a piece of clothing I made!

The Sale is Sunday, October 11, 1pm to 6pm. More details at http://www.shakespearetheatre.org/plays/details.aspx?id=197&source=l

Hope you have a great weekend, no matter what you do!~Jen

Green Tip~ Be A Clean Greenie

With the new and great habits people are creating by utilizing re-usable totes, there is also a new and not so great spread of germs. In using these bags more often, they are getting dirtier, picking up and retaining bacteria. Be sure to bag your meats before placing in your totes, then recycling that plastic wrap. Wash your carry bags often to deter contamination.

Pretty much, use common sense. If you ate off a plate and it was dirty, wouldn't you clean it? So, if you are carrying around food, between dirty cans from the grocery store to farm fresh produce from market, these bags could be less than pristine. Throw them in the wash at least one a week, using warm to hot water.

For more information on this issue, check out http://curezone.com/forums/fm.asp?i=1475002

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October Artist of the Month~ Michele Banks


OK, I'll admit it: I'm not usually drawn to watercolors. Rather, perhaps, it is the typical watercolor subject I am not drawn to. Subtle landscapes and still lives with fruit and flowers.

It is my personal obsession with circles and interlocking rings that makes Michele Banks' work speak to me greatly. Airy bubbles flow over an aurora borealis background. Interconnected circles of bright color and flair pop out. Mirror images of repeating coffee cups march across the canvas, somewhat like a more modern Warhol. The shapes are simple, clean and organic. They sometimes look plainly geometric. Other times, they might vaguely resemble a womb, a dream or a scientific illustration. From the more serious Capitol Building to the whimsical 'smiley faces', you can see her work shifts as the mood hits.

If you take a look at the title of the work, you maybe able to decrypt the inspiration. Or, you may not. For instance, the Bubbles series, from which I have a very small piece, was not taken from the carbonated fizz of soda pop, but rather was "inspired by the bursting of the stock market bubble".

Look at a another piece that is laid out on a grid. In each block, a flash of color interacts with a different hue. In looking at the title, Cell Division, you can now see where Michele gained her inspiration.



This work is colorful, engaging and accessible. From large scale original pieces to smaller paintings, mini collages and notecards, she has a motif and item to fit your wall and wallet.

For more, in her own words:

Michele Banks is a self-taught artist working in watercolor and collage. Her instantly recognizable art, featuring strong colors, geometric shapes and repeated images, can be seen in many festivals and art shows in the DC metro area. This month, Michele will be showing at Art on the Avenue in Alexandria (Oct. 3) and the Bethesda Artist Market (October 10). Her paintings are also currently on display at Children's National Medical Center in DC. You can see more at her website, www.artmonger.net.

Q~ How did you get started?

A~ I actually started doing the collages by decorating the walls of my cubicle at Price Waterhouse with cut-outs. I would just photocopy things that I thought were cool, make a whole bunch, cut them out and pin them to the walls of my cubicle.

Q~ Why do you continue?

A~ I enjoy making art, I keep getting better at it, I keep thinking of new stuff I want to do and people keep buying it.

Q~ What is your greatest success story?

A~ Getting two of my paintings into the Wilson Building Art Collection in DC was a biggie. That’s like DC’s city hall, where the Mayor and the city council have their offices, and the DC Arts Commission installed two of my pieces in the permanent collection.



Q~ What is one of your greatest failures?

A~ I put a lot of time and effort into creating a whole new look for my Artomatic wall in 2009, and I didn’t sell a single piece. That was after selling eight pieces from Artomatic in 2008.

Q~ Where do you get your inspiration?

A~ I love beautiful textiles, so I find that I get inspiration from beautiful scarves and fabrics. But also just all sorts of random things that I see, hear or read about. My bubble series this year was based on all the talk about the various economic bubbles and these huge sums of money just vanishing, which I depicted as zeroes floating away.

A~ I’m also inspired by the paint itself. I love seeing what watercolor will do.

Q~ Why do you make/create what you do?

A~ I use watercolors in virtually all my work because I love the clarity of the color. I’m also pretty decisive and impatient, so watercolor works for me because it’s fast and you’re very limited in your ability to go back and mess with it afterward.

I said before that I love beautiful textiles, and I did try working with fabric for a while, but I discovered that sewing makes my back hurt and makes me very cranky. So I’ll leave that to others, like Jen!



Q~ Where is your favorite place to sell? Or Favorite show?

A~ Adams Morgan Day was the first outdoor show I ever did and it’s always been a great show for me. I love Art on the Avenue, too – it has a great vibe and the neighborhood really comes out and supports the artists. SoWeBo in Baltimore is a crazy show with all these tattooed, dreadlocked people and bizarre bands, so that’s fun for a change from my usual middle-aged Mom lifestyle.

Q~ What is one thing you love about your business?

A~ I get to make all the decisions myself.

Q~ What is one thing you loathe?

A~ Rejection. Rainy festivals. OK, that’s two.

Q~ What is your dream about your art?

A~ About the art itself, I want to just make art that I love and that I’m proud of. On the practical side, I would love to find a dealer or a gallery owner who really gets my work and would help me sell it.

Q~ What is your mission?

A~ I seek the grail.



Q~ Where are you based?

A~ Washington, DC

Q~ Where would you live if you could live anywhere?

A~ I’ve lived a lot of places, and Washington is really my home and my favorite, but I have an abiding fantasy about a little summer house in Norway or Finland where I could go for July and August. I don’t like the 90-degree stuff.



Q~ What would you be doing if not this?

A~ No idea!

Q~ What is your favorite question to ask people?

A~ Do you have any chocolate?

Q~ What is your answer to that question?

A~ Generally yes!



Jen speaking again~ Michele is much too modest about her skills at the sewing machine. She was the creator of The Giant Peep at Artomatic! I didn't know it at the time of this snuggle picture. However, it was a wonderful addition to show and I'm so glad that Michele made it!

For more information, pictures of her latest works and markets, please visit Michele's website at www.artmonger.net.



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This weekend!! Two great shows, again! Weather is looking better and better....





What: Art on the Aveune

Where: Mt Vernon Ave, Del Ray, Alexandria, MD

When: Saturday, October 3, 10-6pm

Website: www.artontheavenue.org



What: Takoma Park Street Festival,

Where: Carroll Ave, Takoma Park, MD

When: Sunday, October 4, 10am -5pm

Website: www.takomafestiva
l.com

See you there!~Jen